BUILDING BRIDGES

Endorse BBI and unite country forever

In Summary
  • Even more important is that this final Bill ensures the interests of the youth, women as well as minorities are catered for.
  • This is the first time that the country will have a youth commission that is anchored in the Constitution and with a clear mandate.
Image: OZONE

Kenya went to the 2007 election a divided country due to the mistrust that dogged the Narc government and the failed 2005 constitutional referendum. And as a result, the country was up in flames for almost one month.

Kenyans were killed, property destroyed, children were caught up in a war they barely understood, women were raped and the country’s image left in tatters. In the end, more than 1,000 Kenyans lost their lives and over 600,000 others were displaced from their homes – some never to return.

After the 2017 elections, the country appeared not to have learnt from the events of 10 years before and we were back at it. Neighbours went for each other’s throats while property worth millions of shillings was destroyed.

It was not until March 2018 that tensions went down after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. And since then, the country has worked towards ensuring that there is peace everywhere within our borders.

Last week, the country was in a state of deja vu only this time, due to Covid-19 protocols, there were no handshakes but elbow bumps. This was as Uhuru and Raila signed the BBI referendum Bill and continued to express their commitment to ensuring that Kenya never goes back to 2007 or 2017.

Their commitment since 2018 has been to ensure that the country gets a proper governance structure that not only ensures Kenya prospers but also guarantees that no other Kenyan will ever die due to electoral differences.

In March 2018, Uhuru and Raila put together the BBI team, which went around the country collecting views from Kenyans. After the first report produced in 2019, the team validated the issues and eventually prepared the final report.

It is also important to note that no constitution in the world is perfect and many have been amended numerous times. The US constitution, for instance, has been amended 27 times and ours is no exception. We can therefore ensure that we first work with these changes that are about securing the future shared prosperity of our nation.

Since the final BBI report was made public in October, there has been debate on the proposals that are to go to a referendum. These views were taken into consideration and have been synthesised into the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020, which Kenyans are to sign to before the next steps.

It’s important to note that this document is an improvement on the previous one, meaning that other interests were considered in the compilation of the final draft. No one therefore can honestly oppose the document as different interests were taken into account.

Even more important is that this final Bill ensures the interests of the youth, women as well as minorities are catered for. This is the first time that the country will have a youth commission that is anchored in the Constitution and with a clear mandate.

Additionally, the Bill ensures that devolution is properly protected both through funding as well as structural operation. The independence of the Judiciary is also catered for while the various commissions will be lean to save money and make them efficient.

Most Kenyans are now familiar with the contents of the proposed Bill and it is therefore good that politicians and other players do not try to confuse them. This is not the time for conflict and chaos, the proposals contained in the Bill will transform our nation for the better, and take us along a path of shared prosperity.

Therefore, Kenyans should sign the referendum petition and play their role in ensuring that we transform our nation.

It is also important to note that no constitution in the world is perfect and many have been amended numerous times. The US constitution, for instance, has been amended 27 times and ours is no exception. We can therefore ensure that we first work with these changes that are about securing the future shared prosperity of our nation.

This process that started with a handshake between two statesmen has grown into a national conversation that we all want and own. It is therefore the chance of each and every Kenyans now to take the next step in endorsing BBI in order to unite Kenya forever.